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Partnership needed to drive game ahead

TO anyone on the outside, it may have appeared strange that for the past 92 years Newcastle district cricket and Newcastle City and Suburban cricket have operated as separate entities.
Nanjing Night Net

Since C&S was launched in 1921-22, the two associations have at times had a bitter relationship, and many players are ardently opposed to the rival competition. Any cross-over was deemed impossible.

The latest proposal to amalgamate the competitions, their respective umpires association and Newcastle Junior Cricket Association into one governing body is long overdue.

Cricket in Australia faces plenty of challenges to remain the nation’s No.1 summer sport. Due to changing work hours and family pressures, the free Saturday afternoon to chase around leather in the hot sun is a luxury that is becoming increasingly unavailable to many people.

Both the NDCA and C&S are in the business of promoting cricket, so it makes sense to pool their resources to face these challenges together instead of in competition.

Already the links forged between district and C&S clubs are proving beneficial and creating more flexibility for cricketers, especially those who cannot commit every Saturday.

Under a new proposal, an elected eight-person board of directors would appoint a paid general manager to run Newcastle cricket. This is another overdue step.

As long as the position is affordable long-term, it should benefit Newcastle cricket.

Local rugby league, rugby union, AFL, football and basketball all have a general manager or chief executive.

In recent years the NDCA, C&S and junior committees have worked diligently to further the sport, but they are all volunteers.

Due to a lack of time they are unable to dedicate the necessary manpower to grow cricket to its potential.

That includes boosting sponsorship, lobbying government for upgrades to No.1 Sportsground to cater for more elite cricket and introducing midweek competitions.

Plenty of negotiating and fine-tuning of the details will need to occur before one governing body is running Newcastle cricket.

It could be three or four seasons before it comes into operation.

In the meantime it is a proposal worthy of discussion.

POWER OF ONE: Cricket in Newcastle could come under the control of one administrative body. Picture: Max Mason-Hubers

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